‘Myth­busters’ ex­hi­bi­tion opens in Chicago mu­seum

The Washington Times Daily - - Television -

Who gets wet­ter, some­one walk­ing in the rain or run­ning? Is it re­ally pos­si­ble to hang from a cliff by your fin­gers un­til help ar­rives like they do in the movies? And is Su­per­man the only one who is faster than a speed­ing bul­let?

Those are ques­tions the Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel’s “Myth­busters” has asked for years, and now, any­body who’s won­dered how long it takes to put on a su­per­hero out­fit in a phone booth — don’t for­get the cape — can an­swer them for them­selves at Chicago’s Mu­seum of Sci­ence and In­dus­try.

“Myth­busters: The Ex­plo­sive Ex­hi­bi­tion” opened Thurs­day, mark­ing the first time the show has taken such ques­tions on the road. The Chicago ex­hi­bi­tion, which runs through Sept. 3, is the first of a planned na­tional tour that will in­clude stops at sev­eral other U.S. cities, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

“This has both the sci­ence and also a sense of hu­mor, what we’ve been do­ing for a decade,” Adam Sav­age, one of the show’s hosts, said be­fore the ex­hi­bi­tion opened.

Just like on the show, the ex­hibit is a kind of sci­en­tific bait and switch. It starts with some­thing vis­i­tors have seen in the movies or on TV or that they can re­call from their own ex­pe­ri­ences, such as dishes crash­ing to the floor when the table­cloth is yanked.

“That’s the hook,” said Jamie Hyne­man, also a “Myth­busters” co­host. “That gets them in­volved and be­fore they know what hap­pens they’ve ac­tu­ally learned some­thing or been lured into think­ing care­fully about what’s go­ing on.”

The ex­hibit con­sists of about a dozen sta­tions mixed in with props fa­mil­iar to view­ers, such as the ac­tual cas­ket Mr. Hyne­man en­tered for a seg­ment on be­ing buried alive.

Movies and tele­vi­sion and just plain sto­ry­telling play a big role in the ex­hibit. There is, for ex­am­ple, a place to build small houses out of pro­gres­sively heav­ier blocks — one made of mar­ble, an­other of wood and an­other of foam to rep­re­sent the bricks, sticks and straw used by the three lit­tle pigs — to see if all that ef­fort by the last lit­tle pig was worth it.

The ex­hibit also in­cludes a live show that asks whether it’s pos­si­ble to dodge a bul­let — or at least a paint ball. Those se­lected from the au­di­ence will be asked to come on­stage, put on a pro­tec­tive coat and hold a clear plas­tic shield in front of them to see if they can jump out of the way be­fore a paint ball trav­el­ing 250 feet per sec­ond, or 175 mph, hits the shield with a splat.

One thing miss­ing from the ex­hibit that is a big part of the show are ex­plo­sions. Mr. Hyne­man said there was just no way in an en­closed space to safely blow stuff up.

Even with­out such a dis­play, the show’s stars hope the ex­hibit will bust what they say is the big­gest myth of all: Sci­ence is just for nerds.

“Myth­busters: The Ex­plo­sive Ex­hi­bi­tion,” which opened Thurs­day at Chicago’s Mu­seum of Sci­ence and In­dus­try, shows au­di­ence mem­bers how long it takes to put on a su­per­hero out­fit in a phone booth.


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